Should I care about Facebook?
The business relationship with Facebook is like the restaurant that everybody you know says you should go there and when you do, you ask yourself am you’re missing something here because you just don’t see the attraction. Maybe you ordered the wrong food; maybe the cook was having a bad day. Maybe you should give it another chance.
Many businesses are looking to Facebook as a source of measurable return on investment for their time and marketing dollar, but it doesn’t always work like that.
Facebook has multiple functions and only a few of them have ROI attached. So, it comes down to how much time or money you want to put into it.
Be aware of the mindset of the person on Facebook. It is a source of entertainment or a place to congregate for people who have similar interests. Most of the time spent on Facebook is reengaging with friends and relatives, joining groups that share an interest or just looking for entertainment. So, if you interject advertisements into that arena, it’s like trying to sell your neighbor on a multilevel marketing “opportunity” when they invite you over to their house for dinner. It will be as socially acceptable as a fart in church.
So, your ads need to be somewhat entertaining, humorous, or at least interesting. Even then it should be minimal. Most of your posts on Facebook should be designed to provide entertainment or something interesting and associate it with your companies branding effort.
So, the first and easiest function of Facebook is that it is a relevant business listing or citation. To achieve this first and most basic of goals, you just need to set up a Facebook business account, attach it to a personal account and get 30 likes. This makes your listing legitimate and your now exist online in another spot where your business information can be found. Business citations benefit your search results for your Google maps listings and your website to a small degree. Achieving this level will provide one more favored platform that people can find you on and learn more about your business. Everyone has their favorite place on the web and if you are not represented in that place, they discount you as less relevant. I know people that truly believe if it doesn’t happen on Facebook it didn’t really happen. I didn’t say these people are the smartest individuals, but they do exist. It also provides a place for customer reviews and those are very important as well.
Having accomplished that, you need to decide how active you are willing to be. The percentage of engagement is dropping rapidly because there are so many groups and businesses trying to get your attention on Facebook now. Not too long ago, you could get 30% of “People Reached”, now you are lucky to get 20%.
Facebook is all about interaction: Likes, Shares or Comments. They also track how long you stay on a post. If the people who have liked your business page never interact with the posts that you put out there, then they will stop receiving your posts even though they are part of your like list. So, consistency on your posts as well as posting something that will catch people’s attention is important.
So now the goal is to get more likes from people that are your current customers or a group of people who could potentially be your customers. This is not a simple matter of he who has the most “likes” wins. In fact, if all you have are thousands of likes from all over the world, you have not accomplished much. You need interaction and hopefully some “Passive Referrals”. If you post something of interest and it gets shared then the group of friends will associate your business with the person sharing that post. This is not a direct referral, but it is a passive referral in the sense that your business is now associated with someone they know.
As far as how many likes do you need, the minimum is 200. That is the number that Facebook associates with “having arrived”. Because once you have that number they make it a lot harder to just randomly change your business name. I would rather have 200 people that interact with my page than 40,000 that don’t even know who the business is and could never be your customer.
How often should I post?
The minimum should be three times a week. It’s preferable to post a couple times a day and at different times of the day.
What should I post? Every post should have a picture or a video. Most people will skim right past your post if there is no picture. 87% of the posts that people interact with have a photo.
The trend now is leaning heavily towards using video. At minimum, you need a picture, short title message and a link for them to find out more. Simple formula. As for the content of your posts, it is good to include some level of personal stuff about the company, some employee stuff and community information if you are doing local business. Industry relevant information would make sense, but keep it light.
Now that you have a base of likes and a steady flow of posts, you may want to look into advertising. There are a lot of different ways that Facebook will help you part with your money. They all have different functions but the one I use the most is to “Boost your Posts”.
This is a way to create a post that is actually an advertisement and then boost it to the audience that you want to target. The benefit of this over running a regular ad to the side is that it shows up in the regular feed which is where everyone is looking. Geographical targeting is pretty straight forward with one caveat. Experience has told me that Facebook tends to expand that geography to make sure they get all engagement that they need to spend your money.
The demographic targeting such as “Interests” and “Behaviors” is interesting and I have no way of knowing if Facebook delivers on this feature, but I do tend to try and pinpoint my audience by using these tools.
When it is all said and done, you can spend a ton of time with this marketing effort and not have a lot of ROI to show for it. You will have things that are harder to measure like market penetration, business branding, community reach and hopefully passive referrals.
It is a platform that should not be ignored and should be used at least at a minimal level.